Recently a jury returned a defense verdict in the Chicago trial of Carol Strum vs. DePuy (In Re DePuy ASR Hip Litigation, No. 10-L-10506, Cook County Circuit Court). This was on the heels of the 8 million dollar Plaintiff verdict in the Los Angeles case of Kransky vs. DePuy. (BC456086, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County).
What do these verdicts mean for the remaining 10,000 DePuy cases?
History tells us the joy in the defense camp is likely tempered with lessons learned from other mass tort cases, and the inevitability of the long-term Plaintiffs victory.
In the 2000s Merck faced thousands of complaints from users of Vioxx who contended heart attacks and strokes were caused by the product, which the company strongly denied, maintaining the medical injuries were unrelated to Vioxx, but due to lifestyle and genetic factors. There were 16 cases tried in the MDL and Merck won 11. In California two long trials resulted in one Merck win and one hung jury. Even though it won as many cases as it did, Merck recognized it was on the losing end of the litigation and set up a$4.85 billion fund which resulted in settlements to some 35,000 people.
In addition, Merck paid $950 million and plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor related to its marketing practices. The company also paid a $321 million criminal fine, $426 million to the federal government and $202 million to 48 states and the District of Columbia to settle civil claims that Merck’s illegal marketing influenced doctors to prescribe a drug they would not have otherwise prescribed.
Click here to read more about the past Vioxx lawsuit.
One of the first mass torts was the Dalkon Shield, an IUD marketed in the early1970’s by AH Robins of Richmond, Virginia. It was heavily promoted in the United States and distributed worldwide to over 4 million women. Thousands of women were injured most from Pelvic inflammatory disease resulting in compromised fertility or sterility. In the litigation, AH Robins maintained there was nothing wrong with its IUD, that the women’s sexual practices led to the pelvic inflammatory disease, laying out the much followed playbook of the drug and device manufacturers to blame the user, her lifestyle, or anything unrelated to the product. Despite winning more than half the cases filed against it, AH Robins sought bankruptcy protection where the Company was eventually sold to American Home Products. In the end 300,000 claims were resolved through the bankruptcy process. The last two Dalkon Shield cases were tried in San Francisco in 1997 by the Brandi Law firm and resulted in verdicts of one million and $700,000 for the two injured women.
So we will hear pronouncements that the company plans to vigorously litigate all of the cases as is their right, that DePuy (J&J) denies any responsibility for the injuries sustained, that the inserting surgeon did not quite do the surgery correctly and that other factors were in play. In short, it will never be the fault of the device known as the DePuy ASR.
But as one of America’s first great trial lawyers and our second President John Adams stated:
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
Here we have a device that was recalled, has a higher than expected revision rate, a co inventor who had to revise 15 out of 66 insertions which he said was unacceptable rate and who testified “I would not implant the ASR XL today”, internal documents raising serious questions about whether the whole truth was told, and 10,000 people standing in line for their day in Court. Clearly the folks at J&J must look at the stubbornness of the overwhelming facts and history tells us what the inevitable decision will be.
Approximately 93,000 DePuy ASR were subject to a global recall and over 10,000 cases are pending in California and the MDL. Potentially thousands more wait on the horizon. Thousands of hip implant recipients have experienced pain, dislocation, fracture, toxic poisoning, and were forced to have revision surgery to remove the defective DePuy ASR.
DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Linked To Metal Toxicity and Additional Surgery
The lawyers at the Brandi Law Firm are representing a number of people with cases pending against the manufacturer of the DePuy ASR in the California JCCP in San Francisco and in the MDL. Please contact the DePuy hip replacement failure attorneys at the Brandi Law Firm today (1-800-481-1615 or email us) to talk with a Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR recall lawsuit attorney.